February 21, 2007
ONLY A PHILOSOPHER:
Words to Die By: A new series resurrects some of history's bloodiest manifestos: a review of Virtue and Terror, by Maximilien Robespierre and On Practice and Contradiction, by Mao Zedong (John Kekes, 20 February 2007, City Journal)
These two books appear in a new series, "Revolutions," published by Verso, a well-known British firm specializing in radical leftist gobbledygook. The books come with introductions by Slavoj Žižek, a Slovenian psychoanalyst and social theorist, who assaults both the English language and the intelligence of those who actually manage to figure out what he's saying.
If you think that's harsh, here's a representative Žižekian sentence: "The claim that the people does exist is the basic axiom of 'totalitarianism,' and the mistake of 'totalitarianism' is strictly homologous to the Kantian misuse ('paralogism') of political reason: 'the People exists' through a determinate political agent which acts as if it directly embodies (not only re-presents) the People, its true Will (the totalitarian Party and its Leader), i.e. in the terms of transcendental critique, as a direct phenomenal embodiment of the noumenal People." Got that? The advertising that accompanies the two books says that "only a philosophical voice so profoundly attuned to the dissonances of our age as Slavoj Žižek's could do justice to the great revolutionary texts of modernity." In a way it's true: Žižek's matchless prose is a fitting introduction to these abhorrent volumes.
To its credit, the Right has rejected its most murderous manifesto: The Descent of Man. Posted by Orrin Judd at February 21, 2007 10:29 AM